Rights Of Suspects

Two Important Supreme Court Anniversaries On June 13: Miranda Decision And Nomination Of Thurgood Marshall

On this day, 47 years ago, the Supreme Court made one of its most important decisions in modern times, in the case Miranda V. Arizona, declaring that anyone stopped and questioned as a suspect by police officers must be read his basic rights before any questions are asked. While law enforcement was furious about this at the time, it has become one of the most important expansions of civil liberties in modern times, although one wonders if the Roberts Court would favor it, if a case came up to reverse it, as the Warren Court was a special, unique period in Supreme Court history.

Also, a year later on this day, President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated the first African American Supreme Court Justice, Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall, who went on to a distinguished 24 year career on the Supreme Court as one of its leading liberals. Sadly, he was replaced by Clarence Thomas, who is the direct opposite of everything Marshall believed in, with the only common theme being that Thomas is the only other African American ever to serve on the Supreme Court.

These two events transformed the Court in major ways, and this is an occasion to celebrate both events, as we await major decisions facing the Court in the next two weeks!